Hurricane Rena's

local ingredients, worldly flavour

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Salt free smoked salmon

Recently I had an occasion that called for that essential food of the BC coast, smoked salmon. I had some sockeye in my freezer that I decided to smoke. Normally I do not smoke sockeye, because it is the finest, richest salmon for eating as is, baked, fried, canned. Pinks and chums need smoking, in my opinion, it improves them greatly.

This time I smoked a sockeye. First I cut the fillets into 4 pieces. Then I dry rubbed it with brown sugar, black pepper, Garlic dash and a little sprinkle of my favourite salt substitute, Herbamare. I let it sit like that for a while, several hours.

I added to the marinade a mixture of dark rum and maple syrup, brushed onto the meat. I put the chunks meat side down in the liquid, which increased during the 6 hours I let it marinate for.

Then I placed it on racks in the smoker. Added maple chips first then hickory chips. I left it in the Little Chief smoker overnight, and as it ran out of chips, it continued to slow cook and the sauce dried onto the surface of the meat. In the morning, I added 2 more smoker loads of chips before deciding that it was smoked all the way through. Let it cool thoroughly and then refrigerate. It is a bit sweet and candied, but the sugar and rum helps preserve it through the process, like salt normally would have.

The end result is a deep rich looking red, translucent flesh that is opaque on the inside and smoked all the way through. It goes wonderfully crumbled on rice with tomato sauce, or on crackers with cream cheese. The marinating process adds no salt, the only salt in this smoked salmon is naturally occurring within the fish. This is how people on a low sodium diet can still enjoy one of the most famous traditional foods on the BC coast.

Blogger’s Block


Its been a month since I last wrote a blog post. A month! I am shaking my head in shame, cringing in disgust. I firmly resolved to work on this for 1 hour a day and then a month goes by. Somehow it just didn’t happen. What went wrong?

First of all, my last post was kind of emotional. I was trying to write about health, disease prevention. Anxiety and how to turn it into empowerment. Taking charge of your own health in a homegrown kind of way, especially when you have to get tested because of a history of illness in your family.

Then there is political anxiety. After freedom of speech, and the press was upheld by your country through out history, of wars and peace and protests, censorship was always an unhealthy course of action, and is now being threatened with becoming law. I recieve information regularly about people who are imprisoned and beaten for expressing viewpoints on blogs. I wonder if its really a good idea.

There is the question of having to be careful what you say, especially when giving health related advice, even if your evidence is all anecdotal. Where does one draw the line? I research health issues extensively in order to improve my own well being and empower myself with knowledge.Am I overstepping my qualifications if I pass such knowledge on to you, my readers? I am a blogger, not a doctor or psychiatrist. My knowledge comes from personal experience and research.

So I suffered bloggers block for a month, then wrote 5 articles at once. But its not a good idea to post them all at once, so back to the twice a week posting schedule.


This blog may contain affiliate links. I’m not that big on promoting products in general. This blog is about independent living, overcoming the need for so much stuff and consumerism. My philosophy leans heavily towards voluntary simplicity, so to write authentically about products involves some serious soul searching.

I believe the more stuff we can learn to make for ourselves, the better off we are for it. I want to help show you how to take back your own homegrown independence and free yourselves from the tyranny of consumerism, however, in order to keep doing it, I need to promote something. Oh, the irony…

 I started blogging hoping to create a closed loop of mutually supportive enterprise, to sponsor the Homegrown show promoting Canadian independent music, providing links to their albums and sites for a small commission, but soon saw that I would have to expand the endeavor in order to do it. I am breaking one of the rules of blogging here I think, to admit that I hope to make some money from it, not just develop another creative passion that becomes important to me as part of my contribution to the world, though I see its potential to do so, and shares a certian similarilty to crime that writing poetry and making community radio shows do. As in, just like crime, it doesn’t pay.

So what to do to break out of blogger’s block?

Here are some suggestions if you too are ever trapped in it.

Keep writing down future article ideas


Time writing sessions with a timer as well as research time. I lost a lot of focus and time by doing endless research that got sidetracked and went nowhere, and gradually turned into general internet surfing. While interesting, it contributes nothing towards getting my site built. It won’t for you either.


Read motivational books such as Getting Things Done and the 80/20 principal, or the 4 Hour Workweek for inspiration and ideas. Keep reading this kind of book continously because they train your mind to spot opportunites in the world.


Sometimes the causes of blogger’s block are emotional. Some of mine defiantly were. Doing EFT regularly helps you get through this, as well as Tai Chi, and Chi Gong which are both mind/body excersises that improve one’s focus.


As for the 80/20 principal, in the case of writing, I don’t think you can have the productive 20% of the time without the 80% of unproductive time. The 80% is going to be there whether you like it or not. The trick is don’t be committed to doing menial chores when that 20% of productive time happens, drop everything and take advantage of it, write when the time is right.


Bees Surivivng the winter despite mistakes I have made in their care.

Here’s some news about a learning curve that I am going through this year. The very first post I posted on this site was about getting my first bee hive, something I have always wanted to try doing, and have wanted to do more since I have learned about how important bees are to our food supply and the fate of the world in general. No mason bees for me, if I am going to care for insects, I will have honey bees.

I have been endlessly worried about my bee hive and whether it is surviving the winter or not. This is my first year of bee keeping and I made some amature mistakes that jeapordized the well being of the creatures in my care that I will not make again now that I know better.

I left a screen door on the house instead of a solid door when the storms and cold began. I fixed it a month later, but imagine if someone did that to your house? You might become more suseptible to cold and illness. If you had to live off of stored food, like my bees do, and it was in danger of going moldy because the landlord didn’t supply a door, it would not be good. If the basement flooded a little too because the house was unknowingly placed in an area that becomes swampy over the winter, it might increase your chances of illness and death as well.

I fixed that problem with the uneasy task of suiting up and moving the hive at a time of year when the bees do not want to be disturbed. My helper and I had to carry the hive carefully to avoid causing mass panic within and thus protective aggressive behaviour. It was extremely heavy and the ground was extremely slippery and muddy. But it had to be done, there was too many dead piling up outside the door, giving me the hint that things were not ok inside. I did some clean up, I swept out the entry way, now supplied with a solid wooden door, with pine sticks, and only one or two of the hives inhabitants buzzed around me. I put out fresh dry food, and one came up to eat it. But there were one or two where there were normally hundreds. So I wondered and wondered how many of the worlds most precious bugs had been killed by my previous beginner ignorance?

My helper, who is a more experianced bee keeper came around today and said we needed to open it up and look inside. This is the absolute worst time of year to do that. Today was the best day at the worst time of year to even try. So we opened the lid. We heard nothing. The new food has not been touched. There was dampness around the edges of the feeding box. Our hopes plummeted.

We took out the feeding box. There were a few dead in the deep super that appears to be still full of honey. We did not see or hear any signs of life. My helper took her hive tool and began to loosen the top box from the bottom box, where the bees have glued it shut with propolis.

Suddenly, we heard it. A promising sound. Buzzing. A stir from within.

Then, as we carefully lifted the top box, we could see the cluster of bees. It was a tightly packed cluster, a lot were in there. There was enough bees, my more experianced helper said to me, that the queen could be laying eggs and more brood hatching at the center of the cluster. It was a lot more promising that we had dared to hope for.

“She must be a really strong queen”

I felt ever so proud, ever so thankful to be the keeper of such resiliant creatures who survived and thrived dispite my lack of knowledge and mistakes made in what they need for their well being.




Sailing the Farm, a valuable book for anyone seeking a self sufficient lifestyle aboard a boat

Sailing the Farm: Independence on Thirty Feet – A Survival Guide to Homesteading the Ocean


Sailing the Farm

By Ken Neumeyer

Across the top of the book it says “Independence on 30 feet” A survival guide to Homesteading on the Ocean.

This book I found in a bookstore in a mall when I was 18 years old, and was a tremendous inspiration in my quest for independence and self sufficiency. I learned how to make cheese, how to build a solar still and a solar oven, how to dehydrate food and store it in the environment of a boat. But more importantly, this books opens your mind to thinking in the self sufficient way, which we are not taught in much of our lives. There are chapters about foraging seaweed, about nutrition and finances, how to provision correctly for an extended voyage, what to do if civilization falls apart while you are at sea.

It deals with topics of composting, and growing your own food in a sailboat. There is information in this book that I have not found anywhere else in over 20 years of reading self sufficiency books of all kinds. It not only offers a way to survive, but to enjoy a life of relative comfort and luxury while you are doing so, comparable to most people’s occasional holidays. You don’t only survive, you can thrive following the advice in this book. My only regret in reading it is that I have not been able to get it together to implement more of its advice in my day to day life.

It was written in 1981, so it is quite an old book, and was already old by the time I got it. It captures the spirit of the freedom a previous generation of people enjoyed and took for granted as the way of the future, an openness in the world that just isn’t there anymore. All told, I would still recommend it to anyone looking to live a self sufficient lifestyle on board a boat

Poem For Sunday

I hear your voice
Clear and cool as water
Soft as sunshine filtered through the forest
Loving life in all its chaotic splendour
Your thoughts speak to me through what you created
As a gift to yourself and the world
From within your mind
housed in your brain
encased in your head
now needing us to reach out to you
in your journey
how loved and treasured you are amoung us
how beauty and happiness hang by a thread in this world
from one day to the next
We give you love and light for your journey
we give you strength and sustinance
we give you the chance to experience the miraculous
and to know how well you are loved
and what a difference you have made.



This poem is written, and used with meditation and EFT to help someone, a beautiful, warm and caring person who is also a brilliant singer, recently diagnosed with brain cancer. This is for the community around the person to use directing the benifits towards the person.

Notice how the poem focuses on the person in health and happiness, not so much on the illness, aknlowdge it, but do not give it power.

Tom And Kate

Here’s a link to the album of two cruise ship musicians who found their home in Prince Rupert BC and recorded an album of original songs about their move. I use their music regularly on the Homegrown Show

Discovering Rupert

James Littlehorse

I met James Littlehorse when he was selling and playing his music on the docks in Prince Rupert. His songs about travel in Northern BC and the Yukon hit home for me, as well as the most fabulous west coast fishing song, Devil and the Fisherman, written when he was living around Denny Island and Shearwater.

Going the Distance is the album I have and play from regularly on the Homegrown show


Jim Littlehorse: Goin The Distance

The Magic words

In every tale of myth and magic, when magic happens it is conjured into being by saying the magic words, a poem or a rhyme of some discript that causes the magic to happen. I am a poet, and I can write such a poem for you, as well as show you a technique to use that poem to create the changes you wish to see in your life. The method I use is a techniqe called EFT which works on the body mind connection. (link available soon) Its free to learn the basics, and on the EFT website, you can learn in depth uses of this technique.

I am a poet and an adventurer on the roads of life, with one hand in the dirt and one hand in the clouds. If you want a scientificly prooven method along with an element of maigc, I may be your choice of a helper.

I am a person who has found myself able to overcome dozens of problems using this technique, and gaining emotional freedom has helped me gain control over my own life and destiny.

EFT is a word based therapy. As a poet, I can help write out your story of the problem you wish to overcome, and find powerful evocitive phrases to help you get free of your problems.

I was on the way to becoming a practitioner under the original EFT method, which has since been changed. I have  attended EFT workshops, watched the training videos and helped 100 people.

This service is being offered by donation.

I encourage you to donate twice, once upon contact, having me write the poem for you and guide you in its use, and once again when you see results in your life from being free of the problem.

And I thank you if you give me the opportunity to help bring healing to your life with this service, and with this use of my gift of words.

My 30 000 pets arrive

Today was the big day I’ve been waiting for. My first hive of bees arrived this morning. Long have I wanted to become a beekeeper. I was checking on everything, hoping I was prepared, as much as I could be, for this new endeavour in the Homegrown Adventure.

I went to the farmer’s market early, they were coming from another island on the first ferry. I had a feeling if I waited until later in the day the bees would be agitated and hot. (We are in the middle of a heat wave here on the west coast) I had the spot all picked out for them, just out from a large fir tree to give them shelter, but out of the shade, so they get sun for most of the day. I had a pallet for a platform, leveled out with rocks, with a slight slope towards the entrance so that there will not be water trapped inside and dampness. This I had been advised to do by Kathy, who has been a beekeeper for over 20 years, and who’s hives are thriving under her care.

I put the bee suit on. I made my bee suit from a white paint suit, elastic pant cuffs over rubber boots, bee keeper’s gloves, a bee keeper’s hat and hood, and went outside to meet my pets, with the fluttery stomach that one might get when meeting a crowd of 30 000, as well as a soveregn monarch whom you need to be accepted by and get along with.

Tom, my bee supplier, had the basic beginnings of a new hive in the back of his truck. a bottom board, one deep super with frames in it, a top part and a top board. There was aslo whats known as a nuc box with 5 or6 frames in it. This was a smaller box with screens in the sides, meant for travelling with bees. He helped immensly with the set up. I was kind of nervous, but have learned when dealing with bees, slow deliberate, careful movements work best.

It is important to keep calm, so that you keep the bees calm during all your interactions with the stinging insects that provide us with honey, pollen and beeswax, and help us grow our food through pollination. They will not sting you unless they feel they have to to protect their queen and hive.

We opened the hive, and heard the vigorous buzzing. Inside were frames, with drawn out comb, some of which had brood, (larve and eggs) in it. Around the outsides of it was some glistening with freshly made honey, not capped yet. These bees had been living in this hive for only about 5 days, and they had done all this work on it so far.

Tom and I inspected all the frames in the deep super, and then took the lid off of the Nuc box. First he picked out a frame, looked at the bees crawling on the comb in a big crowd, showed me one that was slightly bigger than the others. It was a drone, a male bee that lives in hopes of mating with the queen, and generally doesn’t help out around the hive. I was told in the winter to expect to see a pile of them dead outside the hive, because they get the boot in the wintertime, and the other bees will not share honey with them.

We saw a bee emerging from its brood comb,where it had been sealed off as a larve. The wax was being chewed from the inside as the young worker ate her way out of the cell. Her first glimpse of the world happened to be at that moment as we were inspecting the comb. We made eye contact, as she continued to pull her large, new body from the saftey of the sealed wax cell where she’d spent her entire existance so far. Here was one bee that might already recognize me as her keeper. I was advised to wear the suit for the first little while until the bees and I get to know each other.

In the July heat, Tom advised me to put a flat dish of water somewhere close to the hive. I would have to put a jar of sugar syrup upside down on two sticks inside the hive to feed them. I would have to do this in the evening, once the day cooled off.

It was on the second to last frame that we put in the hive where we saw the queen. About an inch long, and swollen, she looked strong and healthy as she presided over other bees. Guards were buzzing noisily at us as we carefully moved that one frame she was on into the hive. It was the moment in the whole hive instillation where they were the most agitated. Tom was actually impressed with how calm they were through out the whole process otherwise. They were just guarding the queen, carefully, as they had been born to do, such loyal subjects. I named the queen bee Beatrice, a regal sounding name that often gets shorted to Bee. The queen went in the hive, along with the last frame of bees. Tom removed the screen over the entrance, and there they were, set up in their new home. We left the Nuc box, which still had a few hundred bees clinging to the sides of it, beside the hive.

We could see some bees leaving the hive, flying in a circle as they rose above it to orient themselves to its location and surroundings. I became aware of all the flowers in my yard, the dandlions and clover in the lawn, the tiny clover I had planted in the newly cleared areas in hopes of greening it up and providing a food supply to the bees I hoped to get, the wildflowers in the bushes.

Tom went back to the farmer’s market to sell honey and produce, and I drank a cup of coffee watching my bees flying out of their hive. I hope their queen is safe, and that they all will return at nightfall or whenever. Long live the queen. May she not have gotten accidently squished when we put her frame in the deep super. I wonder to myself when I should check them again, and when I should make a point of looking for her. Probably not tonight when I put the sugar syrup in.

I have been told that this hive may need to be split within 30 days, because it is multiplying rapidly and raising a lot of brood, then I will have 2 hives started. Which I would like very much to have happen. Also, to mix the syrup 2/3 sugar to 1/3 water, and add a little bit of honey to it.
In the baking sun of the hot afternoon, I see very little activity around the hive. I hope they haven’t just all scattered loose into the world never to return, that my bees will be there in their home, to grow and prosper.

May the hive prosper and thrive
Long live the queen!

To Honour Carl Nelson


To Honor Carl Nelson

Last time I saw him he said

“ I think you and I will be friends for a long time”

But it wasn’t quie long enough

We never got another chance to recite poetry

around the fire in winter again

Eating sandwiches of sockeye spread with ooligan oil thick as margarine

For a double fish flavor

Drink home made wine and play music in the house he built himself

And named after some magical place in Viking mythology

Loaded with magic and beauty

Originality and artwork

Honoring life and the creative spirit

I’ve sat in his sauna

Being cleansed from toxic copper paint

Until the heat caused me to skinny dip in the ocean in November

Sad to hear that he’s gone but

Happy to hear that he rode right until the bitter end

Not a tragedy to die doing what you love

Last moments of life spent riding his motorbike

With the threat of long term illness looming large

Strikes fear in the hearts of the courageous

He went fishing after hearing he had cancer and limited time to live

After months of chemo and operations failed to cure him

Spent some of his precious time out on the boat chasing sockeye

To be one more time blessed by the ocean

A fortune grander than winning fifty thousand in the lottery

Like he did the year before to buy a slightly newer gill netter

With which to fish his last season

And I hear it was a good one,

though he didn’t live long enough to collect it all

Never made it out for chums

This great poet, fellow hunter of the ocean,

Keeper of legend and lore, appearing on tv reciting poems

Riding the roads strong in his heart

Facing death courageously,

The world will be so much less without him

We can only be thankful

That he took time to inspire others

To share of his life, his skills and imagination

so he’ll be remembered and treasured for years to come.


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